With martial arts, it is often said that the student eventually becomes the teacher. And that is exactly what happened with the Sooke Martial Arts Association.
Starting as a club over 30 years ago, Sooke Martial Arts became a registered non-profit organization last November. Started by Ian Milne and then taken over by Jim Beckett, it is currently headed by sensei Carl Scott, who was actually a student as a child, said fellow sensei and instructor Nicky Logins.
“Carl has been with the club since he was 11 years old, he’s got his own kids now,” said Logins.
As an organization, instead of having one owner, the responsibilities of day-to-day operations are now looked after by families and the seven instructors, like Logins who also has been with the club for several years.
“I watched my kids do it for two years and I couldn’t sit there watching anymore, and when I did start it was just so much fun and so empowering that I stayed with it, and now I’m the only one that’s left,” she said, laughing.
Her entire family attained high levels in shotokan karate, the style of martial arts originating from Okinawa, Japan that the organization teaches. Students learn all the forms, also called kata, that include sparring, self defence and weapons technique, as well as discipline and respect. There are seven belt levels leading up to black, or teacher level: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown.
It’s not necessary for newcomers to have any previous experience, and Logins said it’s just as much for parents, uncles and aunts as it is for youngsters. Ages of students range from five to 65.
“We like to promote the idea that martial arts is really a family affair,” she said, who added there are quite a few families that practice together.
“We forget how much fun (the kids are) having.”
Sooke Martial Arts practices on Mondays and Thursdays out of their dojo at the community hall on Shields Road. There are two streams — junior (age five to 10) classes are from 6 to 6:45 p.m. with seniors (10 and up) right after from 7 until around 8 p.m.